By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
LAS VEGAS -- The 525-yard, par-5 16th hole is one of the easiest at TPC Summerlin. Many players can reach the green in two shots. Bryce Molder made eagle there during his first-round 65, but had to hole out from 126 yards to do so.
"It looked so good that I didn't want to say anything," Molder said, "because as soon as I say, 'Go in,' or 'Get close,' it's going to end up 20 feet short."
He laid up short of the water in front of the green after drawing a difficult lie in the left rough.
"It was sitting way down (in the rough)," Molder said. "I couldn't lay it up as far down there as I wanted because I couldn't tell if it was going to be a flier or if it was going to come out soft. I played for the flier because of the water down there, and it came out soft." He followed the eagle with birdies on 17 and 18 to make the turn in 6-under 30. He made one bogey and one birdie on his second nine.
Molder had missed the cut in three of his previous four appearances at this tournament; he tied for 10th in 2011.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Bryce Molder had made steady progress in 2010 and '11 but couldn't continue that momentum last season. He ranked fifth in strokes-gained but needs to convert more scoring opportunities -- Molder ranked 130th in birdies and 164th in eagles.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Molder extended his FedExCup Playoffs run when he tied for ninth at the Deutsche Bank Championship. With that top-10 finish -- only his second of the year after posting six in each of the two previous seasons -- Molder made the field for the BMW Championship and ended up 96th in the final standings. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I stood next in line to Bryce as we boarded a plane together following the Frys.com Open. He had just finished defending his title with a solid T11 finish. It was his last tournament of the season and you could tell Bryce was looking forward to some down time. Bryce isn't a good putter; he's a great putter. Molder ranked 5th in Strokes Gained Putting in 2012..-- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Still butter with the putter, yet failed to score like it in 2012. Grinded out nine top-25s nonetheless, but was largely invisible during the regular season from April on. He'll turn 34 in late January, so there's no reason to panic. Simply continue to lean on his strengths as a veteran sharpshooter on tighter, shorter tracks. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||T7||Hyundai Tournament of Champions|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 17
Rounds played: 79
Top-10 finishes: 2
Money List rank: 82nd
Driving distance: 178th
Driving accuracy: 91st
Greens in regulation: 103rd
Strokes gained-putting: 5th
Scoring average: 105th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is you prediction for Bryce Molder in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
All times Eastern
Tuesday, Oct. 9
2 p.m. – Luke Guthrie
5 p.m. – Nicolas Colsaerts (subject to move earlier)
Wednesday, Oct. 10
Following 11:10 a.m. Pro-Am – Ernie Els
Following 11:40 a.m. Pro-Am – Bryce Molder
KAPALUA, Hawaii – The 2012 PGA TOUR season officially began Friday when Bryce Molder hit the opening drive to start the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Molder and Michael Bradley were in the first pairing of the day. As the 45-year-old Bradley, a four-time winner on TOUR, warmed up on the tee box at the par-4 first hole, he said, “I’m just happy to be here. Just glad to have a tee time.”
Bradley and Molder wished each other good luck, then Molder took the first swing. His drive sailed left of the fairway and did not catch the downhill slope. Bradley’s tee shot did catch the slope, leaving him 50 yards ahead of Molder.
But Molder, making his first start in this event after winning last year’s Frys.com Open, hit an excellent approach that found the green and rolled inside 22 feet. Bradley then followed with an approach that came up short of the green.
Both players ended up with pars on the hole.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Callaway Golf debuted two new products at the Frys.com Open, a new driver in its RAZR line and a new ball.
The company hasn’t been in the adjustable-driver marketplace, but with the RAZRFit Callaway hopes to compete with similar offerings from TaylorMade and Titleist.
As Zak Kozuchowski of GolfWRX wrote earlier this week, the RAZRFit includes an interchangeable shaft connection like other manufacturers’ offerings, as well as an adjustable hosel that allows golfers to set the face angle as either open, square or closed. It also features two moveable weight ports that can be changed to either neutral and draw settings.
Ernie Els put a 9.5-degree model in play at CordeValle and finished T4, hitting 60.7 percent of his fairways for the week, in line with his season average. Other players using the club included Trevor Immelman, Cameron Beckman and Scott Gutschewski.
The club is not expected to be on sale to the public until 2012.
Callaway also had a prototype HEX Black ball in competition at Frys.com, a five-piece model with a dual core and dual-mantle layer, plus a redesigned hexagonal pattern on the cover. Els and Derek Lamely used the ball in California.
TRY, TRY AGAIN: Sun Mountain is providing outerwear for the United States team at next month’s Presidents Cup. Hopefully this won’t be a storyline once competition begins.
That wasn’t the case at last year’s Ryder Cup in Wales, where persistent rains penetrated the Americans’ Sun Mountain gear to the point that players bought new rain suits by other manufacturers at merchandise tents. The company took plenty of criticism, and wasn’t helped by the fact that the U.S. lost the matches.
This year, Sun Mountain said it worked with the U.S. team to design jackets and pants that will better protect from the elements while staying breathable. The company said its new woven material stretches in four directions, is completely waterproof and has a water-repellant finish.
TIGER TALK: One day after Tiger Woods said he had “one of the worst putting rounds” of his career in his first-round 73 at the Frys.com Open, he returned with two pieces of lead tape on his Nike Method putter.
Turned out to be a good call, as Woods followed with three consecutive 68s and finished T9 for the week in putts per round -- his best putting effort all season.
Woods also carried two new clubs in his bag, VR Pro Limited 3- and 5-woods (15 and 19 degrees).
ON THE SHELVES: Rushing to meet demand for the biggest trend on the PGA TOUR this year, TaylorMade is ramping up production to get the Corza Ghost and Ghost Spider long putters into stores. The company projects it will sell five times as many belly and long putters in 2011 compared to last year.
Retail price for both models is $199.
WINNER’S BAG: Bryce Molder at the Frys.com Open:
Driver: Titleist 909D3 9.5º (Mitsubishi Diamana Prototype)
3-wood: Titleist 909F2 13.5º (Mitsubishi Diamana White 83)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H 20º (Fujikura Speeder 904)
Irons: Titleist CB (712 Series) 3-9 (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled 48º, TVD54º, TVD60º (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2.7 SS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- After 132 starts, Bryce Molder finds himself in unfamiliar territory.
For 131 of those Molder never knew what it felt like to win. So when he arrived at this week’s McGladrey Classic after a couple of extra days in Carmel, Calif., following his win at last week’s Frys.com Open, he was trying to keep his energy up.
“Physically, when you come off that euphoric high, there's kind of an energy let-down,” Molder said Wednesday. “It'll either happen this week or happen next week when I go home. Hopefully I put it off until next week.”
There was a time when Molder made the game look easy. He had a decorated amateur career and is one of the few players on the PGA TOUR to have been a four-time All-American while at Georgia Tech. In just his second start as a professional, Molder finished third at the 2001 Reno-Tahoe Open, where he played in the final group on Sunday.
“I thought, these guys aren’t that great, this game isn’t that hard,” Molder said. “A couple years later I didn’t know how to find the golf ball.”
Molder’s career went south quickly as he spent 2003-2006 relegated to the Nationwide Tour and in two of those years, he didn’t make a single start on the PGA TOUR. It was a humbling experience for a player many had tagged as can’t miss.
The low point for Molder came the week of the 2003 Phoenix Open. He was playing in a pro-am at nearby Grayhawk Golf Club and when he finally hit the fairway on one particular tee shot, the amateurs in his group applauded.
Molder was playing in Phoenix on a sponsor’s exemption, but was hesitant to enter given the state of his game.
“I didn't want to play,” Molder recalls. “I didn't want to take whatever it was I had that was called a golf game out there and showcase it. I actually withdrew the next week for the Bob Hope, and I felt terribly about it, but I tried to explain it to them, I don't have a game that can compete right now.
“That was a long road, and I'll credit [my swing coach] Michael Beau. He was the first one that really pointed me down the right path. We're still working on things we want to see, but pretty immediately I started seeing some improvement when I started working with him.”
Nearly a decade later, Molder seems to have found his swing and his game.
”It's a crazy game,” Molder said. “But I almost wouldn't have it any other way.”